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The Importance of Eating Breakfast for Teenagers

by Susan Revermann

Most people have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t always stop a teen from skipping this meal. Not only can this lead to a rumbling tummy, it can also have a negative effect on your teen’s health, performance and well-being. If you make this meal more convenient and appealing, your grumpy, barely awake teen might manage to grab something before lumbering out the door.

Overeating

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a 2008 study in the journal "Pediatrics" found that teenagers who skipped breakfast had a higher body mass index than teens who ate breakfast regularly. It suggests that if a teen skips breakfast, and maybe even lunch, he might go home and overeat for the rest of the day. Eating breakfast can jump-start your child's metabolism and regular meals throughout the day can help a person avoid feeling overly hungry and less likely to binge.

Physical Performance

A teenage body needs proper fuel to keep going throughout the day. The KidsHealth website points out that a teenager who eats breakfast will have more energy, a better attention span, improved memory and better concentration while he’s at school. KidsHealth also suggests that skipping breakfast can make a person feel irritable, restless or tired.

Health

A healthy breakfast can provide vital nutrients to keep a teen’s body healthy and functioning properly. Even a quick bowl of fortified cereal topped with milk can provide valuable vitamins, minerals and fiber. Because a teenage body is growing and changing rapidly, the bone-building calcium and vitamin D found in these types of foods can really help. Getting enough nutrients also helps a body fight infection.

Quick Breakfast Options

If time constraints are the issue, stock up on quick, on-the-go breakfast options for your teen. If a bowl of cereal aren’t cutting it for your teen, offer granola bars, breakfast bars, fruit, trail mix, cheese sticks or yogurt tubes. Whole-grain frozen waffles, oatmeal packets and whole grain English muffins with peanut butter only take a couple minutes to prepare. If the food is easy to make and readily available, your teen is much more likely to eat breakfast on the way out the door. Some schools even have a breakfast program if your teen is willing to grab something when he gets to school.

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